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Court Declares Dismissal Of Pregnant Unmarried Police Officers Illegal

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has declared Regulations 126 and 127 of the Nigerian Police Force illegal, paving the way for unmarried policewomen to continue their service without fear of dismissal due to pregnancy.

 The three-man panel of the court, led by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, unanimously overturned the regulations and called for a comprehensive review of the entire Police Regulations to align with the principles of a modern, equitable society.

The legal battle, initiated by the incorporated trustees of the Nigeria Bar Association, commenced on February 15, 2021, when the NBA filed an originating summons challenging the discriminatory practices within the Nigerian Police Force.

 Despite an initial setback with the dismissal of the case by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on February 21, 2022, the NBA persisted in its pursuit of justice.

Dissatisfied with the Federal High Court’s ruling, the NBA filed a Notice of Appeal on March 15, 2022, citing six grounds for appeal. 

The Court of Appeal’s judgment, delivered by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole and unanimously adopted by Justices Bukola Banjoko and Okon Abang, marks a significant victory for gender equality and human rights in Nigeria.

In its ruling, the Court of Appeal emphasized that Regulations 126 and 127 of the Police Act infringed upon the privacy and rights of female police officers, perpetuating gender-based discrimination within the force.

 Justice Oyewole condemned the notion that female officers required special regulation, highlighting the importance of equality and fairness in a democratic society governed by the rule of law.

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